Chicago Sells Landmark Building for $1

While flatiron buildings look pretty cool, they're virtually useless and downright wasteful if they've been vacant for nearly 20 years. This was the plight of the historic Morris B. Sachs flatiron building in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood northwest of the Loop. So the city sold it for $1 and now the six-story landmark is being redeveloped into a hybrid of affordable housing and community arts center.
The building, which currently only houses a Payless Shoe Store on the first floor, will be turned into the Hairpin Lofts and Logan Community Arts Center, "a project that combines affordable housing, historic preservation, environmental sustainability, transit-oriented development, and the creation of a community arts center," according to a statement made by the Chicago Community Development Commission (CDC).

The redevelopment, to be handled by Brinshore Development, will be comprise of 28 new residential loft units, 25 of which will be affordable housing units for households earning at or below 30 to 60 percent of the area median income, or $22,600 to $45,240 for a family of four, according to the CDC. Brinshore has selected Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture to work with them on the project.

"Earlier proposals called for twice the number of affordable units," notes Ryan LaFollette at The Architect's Newspaper. The winning proposal opts for fewer apartments and greater community space. The developer hopes this will create a more vibrant and dynamic streetscape, accessible day and night.

Four market-rate retail units covering 8,500 square feet will be located on the first floor. The second floor of the Sachs building will accommodate the new 7,000-square-foot Logan Community Arts Center and an outdoor patio deck. Meanwhile, another 6,000 square feet will be dedicated to a laundry room, community room and a bike storage/maintenance unit.

The project will be funded by $10.1 million in housing revenue bonds and more than $7.1 million in tax-increment funding, or TIF. The TIF's objective is "To help local companies expand and create employment opportunties for Chicago residents." About 150-200 temporary construction jobs and 30 permanent ones will be created as a result of the redevelopment, according to the CDC.

Selling the property for $1, the city of Chicago is taking a $3,999,999 write-down in acquisition costs. A portion of an adjacent two-story building, which is vacant, will be demolished to make way for the project.
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